India is a land of rich culture and heritage. There are many religions and deities worshipped here. As part of the many cultural and traditional experiences, we also worship animals.Â Animals are regarded with high honor in our tradition and every animal has some significance or the other in our culture. Let us take a look at 5 such animals which are considered holy and are worshipped with reverence by the people of India.
This is probably most sacred of the animals in India. The cow worship can be found in many historical and mythological stories across the country. Cow is in fact treated in equivalent to the deities and is looked upon as a mother who fulfils every demand of her children. The animal is supposed to house a number of deities in its body and the picture of Kamadhenu, the heavenly cow, can be found in many a households. The reverence of the cow is so high that the government has recently banned the slaughter of these animals in honor of their holiness.
One of the greatest epics Ramayana is the evidence that monkeys were revered to with high regard by our ancestors. The monkey God or the Lord Hanuman is a god of power and strength and is worshipped across the country by many. The Varanasi Durga Temple and the Monkey Temple, in Jaipur are home to the worship of monkeys and you can find thousands of them in this area. The most commonly worshipped form of the monkey is that of the Langur also referred as the Hanuman Langur. Even the Swayambunath temple in Nepal and the Ubud temple complex in Bali pay its respects to this animal.
You can find many references to the worship of this reptile spread across the various cultures. The deity, Lord Shiva, of the Hindu religion is believed to have a snake, Indian cobra, adorning his neck. Another deity Lord Vishnu is said to be lying on a thousand headed snake. The Indian cobra is looked upon as a deity of worship and there is even a festival celebrated in honor of these reptiles, Nag Panchami. There are many other serpent deities as well to whom people offer milk and do puja on auspicious days.
Apart from being the vehicle of Lord Indra, the ruler of heaven, the animal is also seen in the same way as the Lord Ganesha, the elephant God. Elephant is used for many purposes in our history, both at war and for domestic activities. There is a huge celebration undertaken every year in the state of Kerala where all the elephants are honored and every temple in the state either owns or hires elephants for the festive season.
Apart from being the national animal, the Tiger, along with Lion, takes the glory of being the vehicle of the most worshipped Goddess Durga in the country. The tribes of Bengal and the Sunderban also worship tiger as their God.
Apart from the above five, there are many other animals, which are looked upon with sacred reverence and worshipped by different people in different parts of the country.